Helping Bedford Businesses During the Lockdown

As the Covid-19 mandatory business lockdown continues, our local Bedford businesses are making do the best they can, but it is not easy.  I reached out to officials and Bedford businesses to see how they are doing and how Bedford residents can help them through this tough time.

Resources for Businesses

Alyssa Sandoval, Economic Development Director for the Town, has a page with all the various resources for business on the Town of Bedford’s Economic Development site.  At the Town’s site, you will find information on getting help with loans, unemployment, the CARES Act, as well as links for National, State, and Local aid.

I also talked with Adam Schwartz, who is the head of the newly created Bedford Chamber of Commerce Covid-19 Business Recovery Task Force.    Adam told me about a few things the BCOC is working on.  They will be offering mentoring sessions for any Bedford businesses seeking help, whether you’re a member or not.  Sessions will be held with experienced business people who have weathered downturns in the past.  Another initiative the BCOC is working on is a directory of Bedford virtual businesses.  Adam pointed out there are many individuals and companies that have services that can be used virtually.  A few examples he mentioned were piano lessons, tutoring, and kids’ activities, to mention just a few.  The goal is to have a comprehensive list of what is available and how to access these services. Keep watching the BCOC website for the list when it becomes available.

Restaurants in Bedford are getting hit especially hard.  The town of Bedford has created a Bedford Take Out page Town of Bedford Launches new Take-Out site, as reported by The Bedford Citizen – March 17, 2020.   Many restaurants are offering Family Packs.  The idea is to buy more than one meal at a time.  Jim Morris from Pepper’s Grill noted, “This is a great way to reduce your trips and to reduce, maybe order a pizza for one night and then get sandwiches for another meal.” Gift cards are another great way to help out restaurants with their cash flow. Consider buying gift cards from a Bedford restaurant as a way to help out a neighbor in need.  Flatbread has just reopened and implemented new procedures regarding their take-out operation.  The BCOC is also working with local restaurants on a Takeout Tuesday promotion offering specials and discounts.

Suzanne Koller of Suz & Company has started a Facebook page group, Bedford MA- Friends Supporting our Healthcare Workers and Local Restaurants, that is a win-win.  The idea is simple: donate to this group and they will buy our healthcare workers meals from our local restaurants.  It’s a great way to thank our healthcare workers while helping out our local restaurants at the same time.

I talked with Summit Health and Fitness and Moving On Physical Therapy, which has monthly memberships. If you can afford to do it, keep your membership active as a way to help support that business. Summit Health and Fitness is streaming free group fitness sessions on their Facebook page every day.  Many of their trainers are offering virtual sessions.  The physical therapy part of the business, Moving On Physical Therapy, is still open, and they’re doing more telehealth sessions.  Jeff at Be Ready Fitness is also doing virtual workouts.  Callahan’s Karate moved to a live online course offering on March 16, with specials for new students. And while it’s important to find ways to continue to be active, Scott at The Edge Sports Center has asked us to remind people to stay off the fields at The Edge while they are in shut down.

Looking for a way to brighten someone’s day or to pay respects to someone? Bedford Florist is still able to deliver flowers. Consider flowers as a great way to cheer someone up or to pay respect to someone and still support a local business.

Kevin Baer of Baer Chiropractic offers complimentary chiropractic care for essential employees.  Check out his web site for the details.

I heard from some dentists and other professional services who are closed down because of the shutdown.  One said what is most helpful is when people who have outstanding balances continue to pay their bills.  It really helps with the cash flow, they said.

Realtors are also having to change the way they do business.   Michelle for Barrett Sotheby said this: “The real estate industry is taking the Covid-19 virus very seriously and locally we’re working hard to protect all agents, buyers, and sellers. Agents have instituted special processes and put modifications in place to keep business ongoing. Our listings, at Barrett Sotheby, for example, can be seen virtually through video, Matterport, and photography. Although Open Houses have been temporarily suspended, individual showings can take place, provided special precautions are in place.  There are certainly circumstances when real estate transactions are essential for many of our clients and we are trying to support them with safety in mind for all.”

I heard from John at Marquis Tree.  Tree work and other outdoor work is still going on.  John mentioned that this is actually an opportune time for tree work with so little traffic on the road. It makes some of the logistics easier.   The fact that people are home makes the scheduling for estimates a lot easier too.  Some companies are also offering deferring payments until after the crisis is over. Finally, landscapers are also working outside.

Auto Service is classified as a “Covid-19 Essential Service” under Auto Repair and Maintenance Facilities, and therefore shops will remain open during the emergency orders put in place by Governor Charlie Baker.  Sullivan Tire has implemented curbside drop off and also limited drop-off and pick up services. Other repair shops also have changed their way of taking in cars, so be on the lookout for this at your local repair shop. This is actually a great time to schedule maintenance on your vehicle with people not driving as much.

I reached out to some of the preschools, and they’re posting different activities on social media to help parents.

I also talked with Trish at ArtSpark, and she said the most important thing is to plan ahead; they are planning on having classes over the summer and emphasized, “We’re still here.”

New England Nurseries and Chip-In Farm also have changed the way they do business.   A New Normal for Chip-in Farm and New England Nurseries after Generations-Long Business Histories – The Bedford Citizen – April 2, 2020

Write a Review … Please!

One thing that will help all local businesses, and doesn’t cost anything, is to write reviews.  Yelp, Facebook, OpenTable, and whatever else.  Please write reviews of our local businesses.

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